tv 2020 ABC December 26, 2015 9:00pm-10:00pm CST
>> i do hold them accountable for his disappearance. >> why he left his family without a trace, and the letter his sister keptt secret r 20 years. >> with one abrupt, swift action, i'm going to completely knock them out of my life. >> "20/20," right there with them as they trace his final steps to the abaoned bus he called home. >> what are your parents going to think when theyee you all here together? >> the wild truth. and, she was a baby abandon abandoned in the phone booth. >> i would see women on the street,, thinng, that could be my mother. >> he's looking for his brother. she's oking for the baby she was forced to give away. what did you promise her? >> i promised i would find her. >> now, meet their last, best hope to find their families. "20/20," with her every step of the way. the door knocks. dna swabs, and false starts. y is it so hard to find the people?
>> he said, don't you ever call me again. >> click. >> and results that are too much to bear. >> sometimes people want those secrets to stay hidden. >> family y secrets. good evening, i'm elizabeth vargas. and tha you so much for joining us tonight on this holiday weekend. we have a very special reunion program in store for you, as we set out to solve the ultimate family secret. what happened to a loved one who went missing? a long lost relative? and, we start with my trip to a telephe booth,h, just few blocks away from our studio here, where a woman was abandoned as a baby. just two days old. new york city, 1965. the beatles play shea stadium, a massive blackout turns out the lights, and that sumummer, on street corner on the upper west side of manhattan in a grimy phone booth, somebody abandons a baby.
born just a day or two before. there is no note and no one saw anything. the only clue dangles from the baby's blanket. a st. jude medal. the patron saint of desperate causes. >> so, it was on this corner, 88th and columbus. >> there it is. >>his is the phone booth. 49 years later, that desperate cause, the abandoned baby is all grown up. her name is louise jones. what does it feel like being here? >> it feels more strange every time i come. >> a successful stockbroker and moth, satisfied with her life. but somehow, that phone on the corner keeps calling her back. so what scenarios have youou come up with about what mig have happened? >> at the end of the day, i think she was really young and really scared and there was shame involved somehow. and there still is some shame involved, because she hasn't come out to look for me at ts point. >> and so loseuise is now looking
>> where have you been? >> why didn't you look for me? >> what could it have been that was so awful that made you do that? >> like louise jones, john keller was also abandoned as a baby. the 56-year-old family man works for a motorcycle dealership. he's always been grateful for his adoptive parents. but as a young man, he began wondering where heame from. so, how old were you when you found out that your biological mom abandoned you when you were not quite 2 months old? >> i was in my 20s. and i had written a letter to the adoption agency. >> the adoption agency revealed a disturbing past. in 1958, his birth parents lived in a basement apartment in the bronx in new york. when he was just 6 weeks old, john's father left his mother and then john's mother left him. >> my mother had walked acro the street and called the police. in that bemt apartment, next to the infant, clean clothes, baby formula and a note
it says, "i found this hard to do, but i am desperate." was there a time when you were angry? >> i was very angry. i was very angry for a long time. >> there was another thunder bolt in that adoption agency letter. john wasn't the only one abandoned. he was shocked to find out when police found him in that apartment, there was another child there, a little 14-month-old boy. that is how john discovered, at the age of 24, he had a brother. what did you think? you opened this letter and, holy cow. >> exaly. it was, holy cow. it was like, i couldn't believe what i was readingng. >> so, you never saw your brother again? >> i've never seen my brother. ever. >> authorities separated the brothers, who were then adopted by different families. finding his missing brother becomes an obsession for john, he didn't even know his name until he made a trip to the new york public library.
archives. suddenly there in black and white, the story of "two infants abandoned," complete with the names of john's mother and father and brother. your own life buried deep in the archives of this library. >> to this day, when i read that article, i get the chills. >> john imagines that on that traumatic day, his big brother was somehowaking care of him. >> t to me, he the hero. >> why? >> when mommy was gone, he was there. >> john longs to find his brother, to see his face, to know his name. there are q questions he's been waiting 56 years to ask. and what is it you wonder most? >> i just want to know who my brother is. >> then, there's candy wagner, searching from the otheride of the divide. a 62-year-old retired physical therapist, hoping toind
for nearly 20 years, she has been searching for a baby she was forced to give up for adoption in 1967. at 14, with an absent father and diffult mother, candy was dating a boy three years older. your first boyfriend? >> my first for everything. ere was no question that i was in very deep young love. >> when this picture was taken, they didn't know it, but life was about to change dstically for the two young sweethearts. candy was pregnant. >> at that time, in a small town where there's no place to hide, it is absolutely traumatic. >> when candy began to show, her mother placed her far away, in a salvation army home for unwed mothers in new york city. and she left you there? >> yes, she did. >> alone? >> correct. >> alone, and on her own for months, candy waits for her baby
but it's a baby she knows she will not be allowed to keep. her mother was already planning to put the baby up for adoption. when candy and the other unwed mothers nt into labobor, an elevator took them thrgh a back entrance into the adjoining hospital. so no one would see them. on april 17th, 1967, the baby arrived. it was a girl. candy asked for her. may i see her? >> and they said? >> no. no. >> what did you do? >> i yelled. i screamed. >> and then, did you get to see or touch her? >> i got to see her. and i asked to hold her, ease, let me hold her and they said, no, that would not be a good idea. >> candy secretly named her baby cindy, but she never saw her again. back home, she was expecd to resume her life as if nothing had happened.
and i cried nightly. >> when did the crying stop? >> oh, o and on. it's lasted about 47 years. >> were you looking for her in crowds? >> all my life. all my life. >> you had noticed when you saw her when she was a baby that she had a little red mark oher cheek. >> she had a forceps burn. >> not realizing it was temporary, for years afterward, candy was on the lookout for a little girl with a scar. so, would you find yourself looking at little girls in crowds and -- >> wondeng if she had a mark on her cheek. >> the ordeal left a mark on cand too. although no one could see it. she graduated second in her class, went to college, got married, adopted a son of her own. but she never forgot about her secret conversations with her unborn child back in that home for unwed mothers. >> i could talk out loud to her. and i made promises.s. >> what did you promise? >> i promised i would find h her. >> 47 years later, candy is so
she breaks a lifetime of silence to ask for help. she hires an unusual expert -- a professional people finder. pam slaton, the last resort for those desperate to find the missing branch of their family tree. can e find candy's baby? how about john's brother, or louise's mother? as our story continues, our cameras follow three very different journeys and capture >> do you happen to know the peoplethat livive here? >> and capture three heart-wrenching conclusions, decades in the making. stay with us. i'm like, huh? aren't they all the same? you know, i had to see for myself. so i went pro. with crest pro-health advanced. advance to a healthier, stronger, cleaner mouth from day 1. this toothpaste... ...and mouthwash make my whole mouth feel amazing. and my teeth stronger. crest pro-health advanced is superior in these 5 areas dentists check.
and i quit smoking with chantix. i have smoked for thirty years and by taking chantix, i was able to quit in three months. and that was amazing. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it absolutely reduced my urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop cntix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse or of seizures. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. if you have these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have heart or blood vessel problems, or develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack k or strok deease alcohol use while taking chantix.
tt2w`t2n`qd" bt@q= h tt2w`t2n`qd" "a@q-,, tt2w`t2n`qd" bm@q&' tt4w`t2n`qd"" dztq 6px tt4w`t2n`qd"" entq ft8 tt4w`t2n`qd"" gzt& _s@ tt4w`t2n`qd"" hnt& o]o], tt4w`t2n`qd"iztq %4t tt4w`t2n`qd"" jntq 7d4 tt4w`t2n`qd"" lzt& /)h three searchers, trying to find the missing pieces of their lives. louise, left in a new york city phone booth as a newborn baby. candy, a teenaged mother who promised to find the baby she was forced to give up for adoption. and john, abandoned with a
when they were just babies.. for half his life, john keller searched in vain for h his missi brother, and then one day, several years ago, he happened to see a tv show about searchers just like him. >> my name is pam slaton, i'm a professional genealogist. >> and i had to be home, every week, when that show hit. >> because you knew that t this was somebody who might be able to help you? >> this woman -- this woman was real. >> john hired pam slaton to help look for his brother. >> come upstrs. i basically live here. this is my office. this is where it l happens. my stacks are kind of broken up by current, not feeling it, drivg me crazy. >> pam slaton is a one-woman department of missing persons. >> i put in the biological father's name. >> she calls herself an investigative genealogist. >> i find your case completely intriguing. >> pam knows firsthand that not all searches end well.
>> i am. >> and, you yourself went on a hunt to find out who you were. >> i did. >> but pam says her birth mother did not want to be found. she rejected pam for a second time. years later, the memory still hits a nerve. >> wow. you know, it's been 20 years. i don't usually -- it just -- it was -- it changed my identity. it's really the only way i can explain it. >> pam not only survived that trauma, she wrote a book about unlocking family mysteries and discovered her calling. helping other searchers, like louise jones, searching for the mother who left her in a manhattan phone booth in 1965. >> how are you? >> good. >> pam slaton goes to meet uise to look at the little the years. >> do you know what kind of
>> i think the investigation was simple. they sent my footprints to four hpts in that area. nothing came back. >> pam has louise swab her cheek for a dna test. >> all right, n it's going on. >> next, she goes to tha manhattan pay phone where loue was left. putting up posters in the neighborhood, looking for anyone who might remember anything about an abandoned baby, 49 years ago. asking for information. and listening to total strangers. >> this is what i do for a living. i help people that are looking for their birth families. >> what is it about louise's story that is so dif skult? >> most can go back to their agency and get some information. the moment louise's life begins, essentially, is in that phone booth. >> pam ston meets john and his girlfriend in the bronx. >> hi, how are you? how are you?
outside theasement apartment where john and his brother were abandoned and separated in 1958. >> that's where it all started. and it's emotional. >> that missing brother is the focus of john's search. >> the's nothing. it's like he doesn't even exist. >> you think there are separate entrances? >> ty ring bells and knock on doors, looking for a neieighbor who might remember the family. >> do you happen to know the people that live here? >> but if there are answers to john's questions, they are no longer to be found in the neighborhood where the mystery began. >> all right, so, listen. i will be in touch with you, okay? and then we'll talk about what happens next. >> john is disappointed, but pam, back at home a at her computer, gets a break. >> i found something really interesting that i want to show you. >> searching for john's biological father on ancestry.com, pam finds he was from west virginia. >> just on a hunch, i putn the father's name and i put in west virginia. >> an old city directory from a
, and therere, looking back at her from theusty digital pages, john keller's biological parents, both of them. >> we have dewey and helen. they lived in the rear of a home on main street in a little town called huntington, west virgina.a. we finally now have a starting point in this case. >> pam and john fly to west virginia. >> all right, ready? >> let go. >> let's do this. good luck. >> hoorah, let's hit it. >> reporter: they drivive around the town his parents once called home. they visit the post office. >> take exit 58. >> they stop at the office of vital records, hoping to get a look at his brother's birth certificate, but it's not ere. they ask for directions to the house where his parents once lived. >> hel. got a question for you. we are trying to find an old address of 225 main street? >> i don't knonow, actuay. >> but en the mail carrier can't help.
seems to have disappeared. the west virginia road trip yields no d directvidence of his brother's whereabouts. >> it's part of the journey, and you have to pick yoursf up and start over. >> pam doesn't take every case that comes her way. when candy wagner asked her to help find the daughter she'd given up for adoption nearly 50 years before, pam said no. >> it's nny. i didn't want her case. >> why not? >> because upstate cases are known to be extremely difficult, because -- >> why? >> new york laws for adoption are strict. >> but pam's husband, driver and usually silent partner, mike, spoke up. >> he's like, oh, you know, she sounds so nice. just take a look at it. okay, mike, go ahead. >> candy had been told that her baby would not have been adopted by anybody living near here small town. but pam didn't rule that out.
everyone up in that region. >> every baby girl born in that regigion on tt day. >> when we c come bac the hunt for cacandy's daughter leads to the unexpected. a confrontation with her past that may be too much to bear. stay with us. wish your skin could bounce back as quickly as it used to? neutrogena hydro boost water gel instantly quenches skin to keep it supple and hydrated day after day. formulated with hydrating hyaluronic acid which retains up to 1000 times its weight in water this refreshing water gel plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin that bounces back. hydro boost.
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tt2watz'@f4 bt@q6]h tt2watz'@f4 "a@q&q, tt2watz'@f4 bm@q-z tt4watz'@f4 " dztq ajajl tt4watz'@f4 " entq 1n, tt4watz'@f4 " gzt& (it tt4watz'@f4 " hnhnt& 8g8 tt4watz'@f4 " iztq r.@ tt4watz'@f4 " jntq @^ tt4watz'@f4 " lzt& x3\ tt2w`t3n@24" bt@qc., tt2w`t3n@24" "a@qs"h tt2w`t3n@24" bm@qx)d tt4w`t3n@24"" dztq k6$ tt4w`t3n@24"" entq ;2d tt4w`t3n@24"" gzt& "5< tt4w`t3n@24"" hnt& 2;p tt4w`t3n@24"" iztq xr( tt4w`t3n@24"" jntq j"h tt4w`t3n@24"" lzt& ro4 half a century after two baby brothers were abandoned in a brx new york basement apartment building, after years of fruitless searching, at last, a breakthrough. the moment of truth for john keller comes when professional people finder pam slaton arriveses unnounced at his house. >> how are you? >> so, she surprises you with the news -- >> and she pulls out a paper and she goes -- i think this is your brother. >> i have to be honest. this looks really good. this looks really, really good. >> pamdiscovered a mistake in the records. she and john had been searching for years using the wrong birth
it was one day off. now, pam tells john a search with the correct date has turned up his brother. >> oh, my god. really? >> really. you okay? yore giving me goosebumps. >> yeah. i'm okay. >> i think that it's time that we call him and get to the bottom of it. >> okay. >> i'm actually trembleingtrembling. >> please let this be. >> my name is pam slaton. how are you? i'm calling you because i'm trying to find someone who was born oa particular day that might have been adadopted. >> sure enough, john's long-lost brother is on the line. >> i am legitimately sitting next to your biologil brother who is your full-blooded brother. so, i guess the question is, you know, how do you feel about this? >> but the phone reunio takes a devastating turn.
has -- >> locateded after 32 years of searching, john's newfound brother wants nothing to do with him. >> really? it went from, "yes, ye yes, this is me." to, "you better not have my medical records." "you better not have my social security number." i have no interest in your personal information. your social security number. and i had to just take a step back and say, "wait a second, that's not what this is about at all." my client was also adopted. he would be your younger brother. >> and what did he say to that? >> he just basically s said, "i don't give a damn, and don't you ever call me again." and hung up the phone. >> okay. all right, thank you. that, unfortunately, did not go well.
>> thamuurt. >> that's the heartbreak.. it's the abandonment again. >> yeah. >> and this is the one part of it, i don't think i ever prepared for. >> if, for se reason, your brother were watching this segment, what would you want him to hear from you? tonight? >> just want him to know that i love him, unconditionally. i want him to be a part of my life. all he's got to do is pick up the phphone, calme. door's open. and i just pray someday that he does. >> perhaps things will work out better for candy wagner, who has searched for one face in the crowd all her life. the daughter she was made to give up for adoption. pam has stunning news. 47 years after candy's daughter disappeared from her life, pam thinks she may have found her. she spent 17 years looking for her daughter. it took you how long to find her?
>> yeah. >> pam compared birth records with likely adoptive families in the county where candy lived. shfound several possible mahes. including this woman, barbara jo gowan. by the strangest coincidence, she and candy were practically neighbors, living in the same community in upstate new york. >> so, i focused in on barbara and i thought, "wow, her parents are the right age, she's an only child. let me take a look and see if i can find her on facebook." >> really? she was the first one that popped out at you? >> there were, like, four. but she was the one that her information really looked dead on to me. >> barbara was a adopted. she was born on the right birth date and at the right hospital. pagot in touch. >> to be quite honest, i thought it was somebody trying to sell me something. exted. and now, a mother/daughter moment 47 years in the making. the daughte candy has noteen since the day she was born, the
allowed to touch, is at the door and about to be in her arms. >> there it is. >> hi, mom. >> oh, my gosh. so beautiful. you're so beautiful. look at you. >> don't cry. thank you for finding me. you have given me something i didn't know i had. >> you have always had. i just h hopehat you could sense it. i've been out there, you've been in me all my life. in my heart every day of my life. >> what was the biggest question in your mind at that point? >> is she going to like me. >> is she going to like me? >> yeah.
what she sesees? >> come on in. >> as they get to know each other, mother and daughter compar notes, andmarvel at living practically next door. amazingly they discover, they'd even been in the same room three months before their reunion, when they had both attended this dance recital. barbara watching her daughter perform, candy watching her granddaughter. together, mother and daughter have one more memory to exorcise. they drive out to the hospital in queens, new york, where barbara was born. e staff warm and welcoming to candy this time. everything is going well until memories come floong back. do you remember that? >> this hall -- i do remember this hall. >> and then, we come across that same ancient elevator,, still there. >> this was the back entrance. >> yeah. >> the one that carried candy and the other unwed mothersrs in disgrace, through the back door to deliver their babies. the painful ghosts of the past suddenly present.
>> yep, she's going down. >> candy coapses. >> doc? >> okay. >> back on her feet again, shaken, the teenaged unwed mother who wasn't allowed to touch her own baby so long ago now comforted in her daughter's embrace. what does a mother look for? what do you want to feel? >> are you okay? and, were you cared for and loved? and she was. that was the closure i really needed, that her life was good. her parents were wonderful. >> a door to the past swings closed and another door opens. which leaves oy the perplexing unsolved case of louise jones. abandoned as a baby, left to fend for herself in a new york
she's going back. >> it's that far corner where that white car is. >> hi, birthday girl. >> you marked the occasion of your discovery at the phone booth for aumber of years by actually going to the phone booth and --- >> did, yes. >> widedy you do that? >> because i thought, if this woman is anything like me, she may show up one of these years, on that day, at that time and we may meet that way. the romantic thought, you know? wouldn't this be nice if she showed up? i mean, that's a fairy tale. >> pam slaton is there. she does not have any news. she says, at this point, the best home for louise may be you. or sebody else watching tonight. >> we were hoping that in doing this piece, somebody out there would know something and call in. we just have to hope and pray someone comes foard. >> meanwhile, at the pay phone on the corner, it's a party. >> you gotot champagne? >> we do. we have having a party.
she's already found, a lucrative career in finance, and a family of her o. >> woo! >> wow. that's nice. >> are you positive somebody out there knows somethi that might -- >> there has to. there would have to. how do you hide something like that forever? the truth always comes outt the end of the day, doesn't it? somehow? happy birthday to you >> as every birthday girl knows, when you blow out the candles, you always get a wish. you can guess what louise wants, happy birthday to you >> even if the most important things have already come true. next -- the famous hiker who disappeared into the wild. who led and died in an abandoned bus. you know the book. the movie. but now, his sisters say it's time for the truth you haven't heard. >> i'm not ready to go in yet.
we turn now to another family secret. millions of you might know the real life story behind the hit movie and book, "into the wild." about chris mccandless, a 24-year-old who went into the alaskan wilderness and sought shelter in an abandoned bus. but his sisters say you've been kept from the real truth for years. here's bob woodruff, taking us back to that bus and back into the wild. >> reporter: the alaskan interior is remote and wild.
stretch of road. secrets about a story so many people think ty know so well.. >>ou start making your way. >> reporter: good. let's get on. >> very special to take two of my sisters. >> reporter: today, these three sisters are retracing the steps of their famous brother, a young hiker named chris mccandless. you three sisters ready? >> rock and roll. >> rock and roll. >> reporter: chris' two-year odysyssey acro the american west and into the wilderns here was immortalized in a book. required reading in schools across the country. and then, an award-winning movie called "into the wild." >> is there anybody here? guess not! >> reporter: it's the tale of a man -- played by emile hirsch, looking remarkably like chris -- bright, educated, compassionate and full of promise, who gave up creature comforts in search of
>> i don't need money. makes people cautious. >> reporter: the sisters' urney in their brothers footsteps will be by chopper. it took chris four days to cross this same snowy terrain. after 20 minutes or so, we finally spot it. a bus, chris' f final stop, literally frozen in time. a shrine. it's breathtaking, so very empty. all you can hear is the river. >> ready? >> as i'll ever be. >>eporter: and somehow, so haunted. >> is this -- whose is this, by the way? >> i think this was chris' bible. >> reporter:he andoned bus stands at the end of a mining trail. chris' goal was to survive here for 100 days, living off only the land. on day 43, he shot a moose. when he recorded it in his daily
>> hehe always said, nature might be harsh in its honestly, but it never lies to you. >> reporter: but by day 100, he wrote "death looms." "too weak to walk out. have literally become trapped in the wild." he was in a weakened state, unable to find enough food. he died here of starvation. he has been criticid for being selfish and unprepared. he was there without a map, without proper gear and without telling a soul. still, every spring, young hikers make the two-day trek to the bus. >> it's something about being here brings out something deep within them. >> reporter: chris' voyage has inspired many. a young man who lived by his ideals and gave his life for it. >> live before you die. you know how many of us actually do that? howany of us actually live? or do we just exist? >> it kind of taps into this longing to wander or to do something unconventional or just live a different life. >> reporter: but the sisters say
know. tonight, they tell what they say is a vital part of the story. e they think better explains why he was here alalone. >> he wanted to really separate e hielf from a situation he felt was very toxic. >> rorter:r: it was mething carine didn't wa to talk about back in 1997, when "20/20" first interviewed her, soon after her brother died. >> people try to focus a lot on what is was with chris and why he did what he did and they look for something that's going to be but of course it's nothing i'm going to get into. >> reporter: but now, in carine's recent memoir, "the wi truth," she says that chris' your snee stemjourney stemmed from dark family secrets. says she and chris shahared. >> frankly, i was asked every time i met with a group of did. answers for a long time and i
was doing a disservice to chris andd a disservice to all those people, because the greatest inspiration comes from truth. >> reporter: the trust, carine says, doesn't begin at the bus, but rather, at this house some 3,000 miles away in el segundo, california. chris was carine's adored older brother. >> he was my protector. he was always strong. he succeeded at everything he tried. >> reporter: the mccandlesses were a portrait of happiness. dad, walalt, was aenowned rocket scientist who o had work for nasa. mom, billie, built a consulting business with him. carine fondly remembers family vacations and peaceful times spent outdoors. >> our parents introduceds to nature very early on. we did a lot of tent camping and a lot of hiking. >> reporter: chris was confident and charismatic. >> people were drawn to chris. >> reporter: but family life, for him, had been much more complited than it appeared. when walt started having ildren with billie, he was
first wife, marsha. shawna is walt and marsha's third child. >> both women were pregnant at the same time. i think a lot of people don't realize that. >> reporter: dividing his time between the two homes, 30 miles apart. your father really had kind of a double life. >> he did. but it's funny, even as a little girl, that was just what i knew. this was a man that was in and t of our house. he would spend four, five days or however many with us and then be gone for awhile and then he would come back. >> reporter: walt and marsha finally divorced when chris was four and chris and carine grew up with their half siings, them. but they say there was a darker sisters are talking about tonight. that may help plain why chris took that fateful hike. >> my earliest memories are just -- you would feel the charge in the air.
it would intensify. >> reporter: next, domestic strike brought to life. >> dad just hauled off and, you spine. >> reporter: and, secrets between siblings. at drove chris mccandless into the wild? carine reveals letters from her brother that she's kept hidden for over 20 years. >> i'll be through with them once and for all, forever. announcement: this storm promises to be the biggest of the decade. with total accumulation of up to three feet.
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but what drove him into the wild? his sisters say the whole story has never been truly told. they say their father, walt, was controllingg and domineering, with a hair trigger temperr that expressed itself sometimes in angry verbal outbursts. and often in psical attacks on his first wife, marsha, a his second wife, billie. shelly lived with chris a and carine her senior year in high school. >> i remember a lot of throwing and oving. >> we would hear raised voices and it would get louder and louder. chris would grab me and get me outside of the house. if we couldn't get out in time, we were always called in to witness the violent. >> reporter: called in by your father? >> both. >>e would hear my mom said, kids, kids, come look what your father is doing to me. and he would scream right after her, look at what your mother is doing to me.
the bed and he would be choking her and shehe woulde screaming out for help. >> carine's half sisters say they, too, were witness to walt's temper with their mom, marsha. in 1972, shortly before their divorce, marsha obtained this straining order against walt. allegeing that he had struck her in the arm and face. that he threatened her on numerous occasions and that they feared her safety. carine describes an incident in her book where walt's aggression was directed at chris. >> dad punched him right on the spun and spinend chris just turned and looked at him and just sort of, like, a puff of disgust across his lips and i saw this fear comeme acss my father's face and then chris just turned around and walked away. >> reporter: walt and billie declined to appear in this "20/20" report.
this about carine's boox. "this fictionalized writi has absolutely nothing to do wit our beloved son, chris, his journey or his character. this whole unfortunate event in chris' life 22 years ago is about chris and his dreams." before he left, chris wrote carine letters, letters she has kept secret for over two decades. but tonight, she's sharing them. >> i'm not releasing his letters to hurt my parents. i'm releasing parts of his letters for people to get a better understanding of chris. >> reporter: in a pbs documentary, carine reading a portion of them. >> once the time is right, with one abrupt, swift action, i'm going to cpletely knock them out of my life. i'm going to divorce them as my parents. i'll be through with them once and for all, forever. >> reporter: and forever it would be. although his parents tried to locate him, even hiring an investigator, he made himself
using the name alexander supertramp. and four months into his journey, chris' body was found in his magic bus. he had starved to death, weighing just 67 pounds. he had written this final note. >> when i learned of chris' death, it was like telling me that there' not going too b oxygen in the air tomorrow, i mean -- it's just not possible. >> reporter: h healingas been a long jojourney. the sisters say all of the mccandless children are estranged from their father. the mccandless sisters have found solis by retracing their brother's steps. for them, chris' magic bus is say credit ground. shawna and shelly have never been here. >> all right, are you ready, sters? >> reporter: each sister taking their time, hesitant to walk towards the bus. >> it's so -- peaceful, like,
all right. you want to just walk around? >> i'm not ready to go in yet. i just need a moment. you know what, it's not just chris, it's just a lot of things. >> reporter: although rust has spread and the windows are crack and open, the bus is a lot like how chris had it. the mccandless sisters are eager to add their names to the hundreds of people who have come to this bus beforee them. my brother, i love you. >> yeah. infinitely. i love you infinitely and uncondition unconditionally. there's journals in here. >> reporter: i in this small bus and in the wilderness, the sisters take in every moment. you have aot of heart here.
wherere he lived and died. >> reporter: but even this powerful moment doesn't feel quite complete. what are your parents going to think seein you all here together? >> i think they'll feel sad, bob. >> you know, walt and billie deserve sympathy for losing their son, absolutely. you know, i don't blame walt and billie for his death, but i do hold them accountable for his disappearance. the fact that we didn't know where he was and the reason he felt that he needed to become alexander supertramp and not chris mccandless. >> reporter: chris was planning a life full of adventure. his sisters are certain it was never his inttion to die here. >> you ow, you asked me yesterday, bob, if -- if i thought that chris was a -- a casualty of domestic violence
ought about it that way. and do think that he was. >> well, he didn't survive it. we all survived it. >> reporter: before leaving, the sisters do what soany pilgrims from done before them. they pose for a photo. of course, leaving a a spot open for their beloved brother.nikki: and a christmas surprise for one lucky hawkeye fan. how his family and friends helped get him a ticket to the grand daddy of them all. bree: weather ad lib what if one piece of kale could protect you from diabetes? what if one sit-up could prevent heart disease? one. wishfuthinking, right? but there is one step you can take to help prevent another serious disease. pneumococcal pneumonia. if you are 50 or older,
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